Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Behemoth by Joshua B. Freeman

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Behemoth
by Joshua B. Freeman


ISBN-13: 9780393246315
Hardback: 448 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton Company
Released: Feb. 27, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares of industrialization and social change. He whisks readers from the textile mills in England that powered the Industrial Revolution and the factory towns of New England to the colossal steel and car plants of twentieth-century America, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union and on to today’s behemoths making sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam.

The giant factory, Freeman shows, led a revolution that transformed human life and the environment. He traces arguments about factories and social progress through such critics and champions as Marx and Engels, Charles Dickens, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Ford, and Joseph Stalin. He chronicles protests against standard industry practices from unions and workers’ rights groups that led to shortened workdays, child labor laws, protection for organized labor, and much more. Freeman also explores how factories became objects of great wonder that both inspired and horrified artists and writers in their time. He examines representations of factories in the work of Charles Sheeler, Margaret Bourke-White, Charlie Chaplin, Diego Rivera, and Edward Burtynsky.


My Review:
Behemoth looked at the history of giant factories from the 1700s until modern day. He started with the British textile mills in 1721 through 1840s. He then talked about the early American textile mills between 1801 through 1842. He looked at steam engines, iron plants, and steel mills from about 1851 to 1919. He looked at Henry Ford and assembly lines, scientific management, and unions from 1908 to the 1940s. He looked at how the Soviet Union industrialized in the 1920s and 1930s and at how America moved away from giant factories (and why) while the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were starting to build larger factories. He finally looked at how China and Vietnam have been building up giant factories.

In each chapter, he looked at why people wanted to build giant factories and at what people were saying about them, both positive and negative. He looked at the challenges and advantages of factories and talked about strikes and legal actions taken to help regulate labor conditions in factories. He talked about what type of people worked in factories: their gender, age, where they came from, how long they stayed, and such. He gave a summary of what happened to those giant factories after the period he mainly talked about. He talked about the impact they made and why things changed. Overall, I found the book very interesting and insightful. I'd recommend this book to people interested in factories.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Drawing Cute with Katie Cook by Katie Cook

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Drawing Cute with Katie Cook
by Katie Cook


ISBN-13: 9781440352300
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Impact
Released: Feb. 14, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Fun fact: If you can draw a potato, you can draw animals.

Master of cute Katie Cook teaches you how to draw everything adorable in her first tutorial book with quick and easy-to-follow step-by-step lessons. All you need is a pencil and paper. Learn how to turn curvy blobs, shapes and squiggles into more than 200 different things, including fuzzy animals, cute food and inanimate objects like yarns balls, luggage and a toaster. Add nubbins, swishy bits, and little smiley faces to anything and everything to transform it into something really, really cute.

How to draw lots of cats: fluffy cats, non-fluffy cats, cats in boxes. There are dogs, too. And other pets. How to draw food like ketchup delivery sticks, spicy dragon claws and tiny broccoli trees. Sports and hobby cuteness. Perfect for doodling during class or in meetings. For fans of drawing turkeys from hand outlines (gobble, gobble), Drawing Cute with Katie Cook is a must-own adorable drawing manual, complete with Doctor Who references, fun facts and bad puns.


My Review:
Drawing Cute with Katie Cook is a humorous art instruction book for drawing cute, cartoon-like animals and objects. Her text is more about jokes than instruction, but the drawings pretty much speak for themselves. Each page had step-by-step instructions for 2 different animals or objects, with 4 steps shown for each. The end product was simple enough that 3 drawing steps and a final, colored-in product is enough for even kids to follow successfully. Initial efforts ought to look decent, and results after practice should look even better. She covers:

ANIMALS: chicken, cow, duck, horse, llama, pig, sheep, chinchilla, mixed breed dog, pug, poodle, fluffy dog, goldfish, hamster, hedgehog, cat, fluffy cat, cat in box, bird, jellyfish, octopus, turtle, whale, seal, otter, shark, alligator, crab, frog, walrus, dolphin, clam, narwhal, manta ray, seahorse, penguin, snake, fox, owl, bear, beaver, moose, squirrel, bunny, deer, snail, spider, bee, butterfly, firefly, ladybug, lion, tiger, red panda, sloth, hippo, elephant, giraffe, camel, platypus, dragon.

FOOD: cake, cookie, cupcake, donut, ice cream, pie, chocolates, tea, milkshake, tiki drink, teapot, coffee to go, milk, lemonade, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, pear, cherry grapes, apple, avocado, mushroom, potato, bell pepper, jalapeƱo pepper, bok choy, broccoli, soup, sandwich, dumpling, sushi, fries, hamburger, lasagna, spaghetti, pizza, bacon and eggs, burrito, taco, banana, cheese, cinnamon roll, hot dog, kiwi, muffin, pancake, peas, popcorn, toast, popsicle, cotton candy.

SPORTS & HOBBIES: yarn, thread, paints, crayons, puzzle, book, ballet shoes, yoga mat, ice skates, basketball & hoop, golf ball, football, hockey stick & puck, skateboard, tennis racket & ball, fishing rod & fish, kayak, surfboard, race car, badminton racket & shuttlecock, hopscotch, croquet mallet & ball, darts & dartboard, guitar, violin, tent, magnifying glass & caterpillar, old style movie projector, video game controller, watering can, whistle,.

HOLIDAYS & SEASONS: snowman, mittens, wreath, holly, Christmas tree, menorah, reindeer, snow globe, gingerbread man, elf, clouds, umbrella, candy hearts, rose, daisy, tulip, chick hatching, birdbath, Easter basket, cactus, sun, grill, hot air balloon, bucket & shovel sand toys, sandcastle, palm tree, sunscreen bottle, sunglasses, mum flower, Jack-O'-Lantern, campfire, bat, acorn, candy corn, ghost, turkey.

OBJECTS: robot, alarm clock, smart phone, headphones, laptop, binoculars, calculator, camera, old style TV, walkman, boombox, record player, polaroid camera, telescope, lamp, file folder, pot, mixer, blender, knife & fork & spoon, toaster, refrigerator, clothes washer, detergent bottle, kite, airplane, mailbox, bathtub, coffee maker, luggage, hammer. And Katie Cook (upper body).


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Making the Monster by Kathryn Harkup

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Making the Monster
by Kathryn Harkup


ISBN-13: 9781472933737
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The year 1818 saw the publication of one of the most influential science-fiction stories of all time. Frankenstein: Or, Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley had a huge impact on gothic horror and science fiction genres. How did a 19-year-old woman with no formal education come up with the idea for an extraordinary novel such as Frankenstein? The period of 1790–1820 saw huge advances in our understanding of electricity and physiology. Sensational science demonstrations caught the imagination of the general public, and newspapers were full of tales of murderers and resurrectionists.

Kathryn Harkup examines the science and scientists that influenced and inspired Mary Shelley. It is unlikely that Victor Frankenstein would have been successful in his attempts to create life back in 1818, but we can now resuscitate people using defibrillators, save lives using blood transfusions, and prolong life through organ transplants. Many of these modern achievements are a direct result of 19th century scientists conducting their gruesome experiments on the dead.


My Review:
Making the Monster is about the science and people that influenced the making of the story "Frankenstein." The book started with a biography of Mary Shelley's life, focusing on the people and events that probably inspired parts of the novel. It ended with this biography, briefly talking about Mary Shelley's life after "Frankenstein" was published. The author also compared the books (the original and the 1831 revised version) and the books to the various play and movie adaptations of the story.

The middle of the book explored the scientific thought of the time that lead to the character, Victor, thinking (and succeeding) in making life from dead body parts. The author talked about how Victor might have made the monster (as the novel is vague), discussing things like the various ways they had to preserve dead body parts from decaying. The author talked about the Resurrection Men and how human anatomy was studied in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Frankly, the descriptions in this part were gory and gross. She also covered the process of decomposition in a human body after death.

She gave a brief history of surgical methods up to the early 1800s and considered how the various body parts might have been sewn together. She talked about organ transplants and blood transfusions--both what they could do at the time and the challenges we now know Victor would have faced in piecing a monster together. The author also talked about the electricity experiments going on around that time and the idea that electricity might bring a person back to life. She described how the proto-evolutionary ideas at that time influenced the story. Overall, this book was interesting but more gory in the science details than I cared for.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Adventures in Veggieland by Melanie Potock

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Adventures in Veggieland
by Melanie Potock


ISBN-13: 9781615194063
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: The Experiment
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
A new, foolproof method developed by feeding therapist Melanie Potock, coauthor of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater, teaches kids ages 3–8 to love vegetables. The book features 20 vegetables divided into four seasons. In addition to the easy-to-follow activities and recipes, Potock offers bite-size advice on kitchen science and parenting in the kitchen.

Her program is a simple—and fun—three-step process: the “Three E’s”" Expose your child to new vegetables with sensory, hands-on, and educational activities (Make Beet Tattoos). Explore the characteristics of each veggie (texture, taste, temperature, and more) with delectable but oh-so-easy recipes (Crispy Asparagus Bundles). Expand your family’s repertoire with more inventive vegetable dishes—including a “sweet treat” with every chapter (Give Peas a Chance Cake).


My Review:
Adventures in Veggieland is about proven ways to help children (ages 3–8) to learn to enjoy eating veggies. The author covered beets, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, peas, spinach, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and pumpkin. With each recipe or game, she provided cooking tips, tips for parents on how to make the experience successful, and how this activity benefits your child.

For each vegetable, the author started with a game involving that food, like making temporary tattoos using beets or playing with little plastic toys in mashed potatoes. The intent is to get the child familiar with the food through seeing, touching, and tasting it. She then provided 3 recipes for main or side dishes that use the vegetable. The intent is for the children to help the adult make the food as they're more likely to eat what they help to make. These recipes are pretty simple to do, and she suggests what parts young children can help with and what parts older children can do. The final recipe in each section is for a desert that has some of the veggie in it.

She isn't necessarily making healthy foods so she often added veggies to or made them into more familiar foods, like fries. She used bacon in several recipes (but suggested that you only use a little and use bacon that doesn't have preservatives). But the recipes may not be suitable for children with dietary restrictions as she used dairy, eggs, wheat flour, and such. However, the overall method for getting picky eaters to enjoy their veggies sounds like it should work well.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration by Mindy Lighthipe

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The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration
by Mindy Lighthipe


ISBN-13: 9781633223783
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
Released: Nov. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
An expert botanical artist educates you about the tools and materials traditionally used in botanical illustration, including pencils, colored pencils, watercolor, ans gouache. This guide includes overviews of key illustration techniques and basic color theory and mixing and is loaded with exercises designed to help you learn to see shape, value, and form. By learning to understand plant life and anatomy, you can craft elegant flowers, leaves, trees, and much more.

To bring it all together, The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration includes step-by-step demonstrations to follow along with as you practice taking sketches and transforming them into fully rendered, colorful pieces of fine art.


My Review:
The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration is an art instruction book for using graphite pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor to do botanical illustration. It covered the basic materials and techniques for realistic rendering of plants and birds. She covered plant anatomy and how to draw leaves, branches, roots, flowers, and birds. She talked a little about the special considerations in botanical drawing and how it is different from other artwork. For example, you include the different stages of the flower in one drawing. She also talked about setting up a live plant reference with lighting and such.

She did a good job of explaining drawing terms at a level a beginner can understand. In the demonstrations, she went step-by-step from the idea to the final artwork, explaining what she was doing and why. She included clear illustrations of what she was describing. Overall, I'd recommend this informative book.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Beside the Seaside by John Heywood

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Beside the Seaside
by John Heywood


ISBN-13: 9781526704641
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Released: Jan. 31, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Almost all of us have happy memories of excursions and holidays spent beside the sea. For many in the UK, these will have included the Yorkshire coast which runs unbroken for more than one hundred miles between the two great rivers, the Tees and the Humber. Within those boundaries are the popular seaside resorts of Whitby, Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington as well as numerous smaller and quieter but equally well-loved destinations.

How did the love affair with the area start and how did it develop? Over the years, all the ingredients for the perfect holiday are there - the spas, the sea and sun bathing, board and lodgings, entertainment and just as importantly, the journeys there and back. “Beside the Seaside” takes a detailed but entertaining look back at the history of these resorts over the last four hundred years. Packed with information, this book is fully illustrated with photographs, old and new, together with paintings and etchings. Coupled with the thoughts and memories of tourists and travellers from the 17th century through to the present time, it gives a fascinating insight into how our ancestors would have spent their time at the coast.


My Review:
Beside the Seaside describes the development of the Yorkshire coast seaside resorts from their origins to the present day. He talked about Scarborough, Whitby, Filey and Bridlington as well as Redcar, Saltburn, Hornsea, Withernsea, and others. He included some quotes from journals about people's experiences at the resorts throughout the years and some newspaper accounts about notable happenings at the resorts. There were also photos and illustrations of the resorts and some ads for them. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting book to anyone curious about how the Yorkshire coast resorts developed over the years.

He started in 1620 when the first spring was promoted for health-giving properties and followed their development into the early 1900s. After covering several aspects of the early development, he looked at the overall development of the resorts in the 1900s to present day, exploring how the World Wars affected these towns and how they've continued change. The first part of the book was organized topically: the development of the spa buildings around springs; the rise of sea bathing (including information about bathing machines, changing huts, etc.); the changing fashions in bathing suits; where people stayed (hotels, lodging houses, camps, etc., including the names of people offering lodging as listed in a guide book) and the building, updating, and closings of various hotels; how people traveled to these resorts (carriages, trains, cars, and such) and the building of roads, cliff lifts, and bridges to help people get to the beaches; the rise of excursions and day visitors; entertainment options found on the beach; entertainment options in the town (ballrooms, orchestras, etc.); and the building of and accidents involving the pleasure piers.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Storytelling Art Studio by Cathy Nichols

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Storytelling Art Studio
by Cathy Nichols


ISBN-13: 9781440349355
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: North Light Books
Released: July 17, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Storytelling Art Studio is the guide that will show you how to create mixed media art that tells impactful stories. It's a creative guide for mining your own life to manifest imaginary worlds, emotional narratives and clever characters. Each chapter presents a new subject--you may paint a tree, collage a landscape or use sgraffito to create a scene. You will begin with inspirational warm-up exercises, then learn how to do it with a step-by-step demonstration and even get to see alternate versions of the piece that explore the magic and impact of different choices.

Perfect for you no matter what your skill level or style, this guide does not have to be read in order. Simply choose what you would like to do and go for it! 10 projects and 10 inspiration exercises!


My Review:
Storytelling Art Studio is an art instruction book about making mixed media art that tells a story. The author has 10 projects that cover different aspects of story telling: using color to convey emotion, creating characters and sidekicks, setting a scene, creating conflict, adding text, using symbolism, repeating a motif, selecting a title, and such. She started each project by providing a creativity prompt to get you thinking and suggesting reference material for you to gather. Then she provided a step-by-step demonstration project. She broke the project down into simple steps with useful instructional text and photographs for each step.

She used paint chips (like for wall paint) to help select a color scheme. She usually used small wood panels (6"x6" to 8"x10") and acrylic paints for the projects as well as gel pens, ink pens, photographs, card stock, etc., for the mixed media aspect. Each project used a wide variety of materials, but the finished project is relatively small (which I like). Overall, I found her take on telling stories through art to be pretty basic (as you're creating just one scene) but interesting and easy to follow.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.